‘If you do this, Kara, you will not be able to undo it. It will be permanent, forever.’: Woman writes letter after cousin’s suicide, ‘You must not know the impact it’s going to have on the rest of us’

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“Don’t do this. Don’t do this, Kara Ashleigh. This shouldn’t be an option. This should never be an option.

If I could just talk to you once. If I could just talk some sense into your beautiful head. If I could just have a few moments to explain to you what it is going to be like if you go through with this. If I could tell you just a couple of things you might not consider in your rush to erase yourself from our lives. You may feel this decision is yours to make, but you must not know the impact your choice is going to have on the rest of us, the reach it will have on all of us that you leave behind.

Kara, if you do this, my sister is going to call me the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I, in turn, am going to have to tell Stephane. Stephane is going to look at me blankly and then sit there in silence for the rest of the day. I am going to have to look your dad up on Facebook and stare, unseeing, at the computer for hours why I try to filter myself and think of something more appropriate to write than ‘WHAT THE F*CK?’

If you do this, Kara, I am going to have to pack a carryon bag the day before Thanksgiving. As I pack, I am going to have to explain to my three-year-old daughter and five-year-old son you are gone. I will have to tell them I am going to your funeral and they cannot come with me. This news will make them cry. They will ask me what a funeral is. They will ask me where you went. When I say, ‘to Heaven with Jesus,’ they are going to ask me who Jesus is. You see, they know all about God and Heaven, but since my stint in Le Marais, I haven’t told them Jesus is the son of God because, well, I am not positive he is. They will ask whether Jesus is the one that is going to come to get you and bring you to Heaven with God and Banka. In their innocence and implanted memories of their grandfather, they will ask whether Banka will take you fishing.

If you do this, Kara, my son is going to follow me from room to room as I try and figure out what the hell to wear to your funeral. He will ask me why he can’t go to your celebration, too. He will ask me why I cannot be home for Thanksgiving. He will remind me, in tears, I will miss his Thanksgiving concert. He will ask me why I keep on crying. I will tell him I am crying because I miss you. I will tell him I am crying because I will miss him while I am gone. I will tell him we will do Thanksgiving on another day. The fact that I am missing this holiday with my family will not even cross my mind, the fact that you thought you were not worthy enough for me to do so will. I will cry harder.

If you do this, Kara, my daughter is going to ask me whether she is going to die, too. When I reply, ‘Everyone does die eventually,’ she is going to ask me whether she will die soon or when she is bigger. This question will catch me off-guard and she will pick up on this. I will backpedal for a minute with pretty assurances and then tell her I don’t really know. She will ask me why I don’t know. I will have to come clean and admit mommies don’t actually know everything. She will rub my face anyway and tell me that it is okay.

If you do this, Kara, my sister and I are going to have to meet at the airport, makeup-less, cry when we see each other and make our way through security. At the checkpoint, the TSA agent will smugly tell me I need to pack my lotion and contact solution in a one-quart zip-lock bag next time. I will see red and blurt out I am going to your funeral and didn’t exactly have time to pack at a leisurely planned-out pace. I will not get any pleasure from the horror that replaces his smugness. On the plane, my sister and I will order a glass of wine, toast in your honor, and share memories of you. We will try and record them in electronic form to read to your loved ones as we gather together to mourn you. I will write about Snake Lake, the Eiffel Tower, coffee at Starbucks, wine at Entre Nous, and your never-ending inner beauty that dwarfed your abundance of outer beauty. We will talk about you in the present tense and cry as we correct ourselves and change ‘is’ to ‘was.’ The stewardesses will try to pour us more wine.

If you do this, Kara, I am going to take a deep breath in my rental car to gather up the nerve to hug Cassie as she waits for me in the darkness of the driveway. We will say nothing to each other as we embrace and trade sob for sob. I will mentally prepare myself to walk into a house I have never been into before, where I know your parents are waiting for me.

If you do this, Kara, I will have to stand in front of your mother, empty. She will hug me. I will know she is wishing she was hugging you. She will tell me you loved us and you talked about us and when you talked about us, it made you happy. I will bite my tongue to stifle the grief that threatens to shake my body.

If you do this, Kara, my eyes will spot the picture of you on the mantle as I turn to hold your father. I will turn away and wipe tears from my eyes before I look at him. I will be at a loss for words. Blatant pain will radiate from him. There will be no antidote for what he is feeling. I will answer ‘yes’ when he asks me, so hopefully, if I have any pictures of you. I will pull our Snake Lake adventure up on Facebook and stand there silently as he tries unsuccessfully to zoom in on your face. After several minutes of his fruitless attempts, I will flounder awkwardly for something to say. In my effort to be present at this moment, I will trip over my tongue several times as I try to explain the adventure that took place that day.

If you do this, Kara, your father will ask me how long we will be in Alaska and where we plan to go next. I will briefly smile over my vagabond life. He will quietly say you talked about traveling with us. He will add he wished you would have. I will keep eye contact with him while he says this, even though there are hot pokers in my guts and hands squeezing my throat. I will say I wished you would have, too. I will fight the urge to close my eyes as he tells me you are being cremated. Instead, I will recall Stephane’s question I am supposed to relay to him, ‘May we please have a bit of her ashes to take her to the Eiffel Tower like we promised?’

If you do this, Kara, everyone who loves you will have their own heartbreaking, aching story to tell about how they must now go on without you. They will have their own stories of shock. Of disbelief. Of anguish. Of agony. Of lives interrupted. Of jobs abandoned. Of children and spouses left behind on the holidays. As time goes on, those stories will only develop additional chapters. If you do this, Kara, you will not be able to undo it. It will be final. It will be permanent. It will be forever.

Don’t do this. Don’t do this, Kara Ashleigh. This shouldn’t be an option. This should never be an option.”

Courtesy Jaci Ohayon

[If you’re thinking about hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help is out there. You are not alone.]

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jaci Ohayon of Colorado. Follow her on Instagram here. and visit her website here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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